KC strikes late as MMC win

Lalitpur, October 5

A late goal from substitute Rupesh KC helped Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) register a hard fought 1-0 victory over Nepal APF Club in the Red Bull National League here at the ANFA Complex grounds today.

With the win, MMC replaced APF at the fourth position with 22 points from 12 matches, while the departmental team dropped a spot down to fifth with 20 points from 12 matches. Ruslan Three Star Club are at top of the table with 26 points, ahead of Tribhuvan Army Club and Jhapa-XI -- who both have 24 points and are separated by head-to-head results.

At a time when the match was heading towards a draw, KC -- who came in as a substitute player replacing Shiva Shrestha in the 37th minute -- produced a moment of brilliance to hand his club full three points. KC scored from the 18-yard box after APF defender Saroj Koirala, who replaced Jangbo Sherpa in the 90th minute, failed to clear the ball and fell just in front of the midfielder.

MMC had a chance to lead the match in the second minute but Dodoz’s shot from the edge of the box went wide. APF’s Nabin Lama’s lofted shot over advancing goalkeeper Dipesh Yadav was cleared by Sissoko -- who had to stretch to the full to stop the ball -- in the seventh minute. In the 24th minute, Yadav denied Jangbo Sherpa’s strike from the edge of the box.

APF had dominated the first half in ball possession but their striking line could not trouble MMC defense and goalkeeper. Sushil KC’s shot following a free kick from Bishal Rai struck the post after taking a deflection of APF defender Top Bahadur Bista in the first half injury time. MMC came out as a different team in the second half and took control of the match with frequent attack at the APF goal. MMC were unlucky in the 56th minute when Dodoz struck against the post.

MMC coach Raju Kaji Shakya was happy with the result. “We had to win the match to be back in the title race and we were lucky to get full three points today,” said Shakya. “The team is not set yet as we have been rotating players in different positions. The players are not playing according to club’s philosophy of building the game from behind and taking the ball to the opponent’s area. And we also lack a play-maker in the squad,” added Shakya.

APF coach Krishna Thapa said MMC were lucky to win the match. “We came here to win the match,” said Thapa. “As the match was heading towards a draw, we sent in defender Saroj Koirala and he made a grave error which allowed MMC score the goal,” he added. “We also lacked the services of key strikers -- Ranjan Bista due to injury and the U-19 team member Anjan Bista,” he added. “We still have chance of finishing in top three,” he added.